Tag Archives: government

Why is no one buying time on Nigeria’s satellites?

Despite having four working communications and Earth observation satellites in orbit, Nigeria officials complain there is a lack of interest in using them by both private companies and international governments.

The reasons? Well, two Nigerian officials said this:

[The Director, Centre for Satellite Technology Development (CSTD), Dr Spencer Onuh, told Daily Trust in an exclusive interview. “What do you want them to do when there is a failure? Let me tell you, NigComSat 1R is not enough for this country; it is not sufficient. There must be a backup. Many TV stations and even the national TV network will be very careful to transfer their services fully to NigComSat 1R because it is just one. The stations are set up for business, and they would not want anything to disrupt their services,” Dr Onu said.

He said it was not an issue of redundancy, adding that there was a need for market expansion…. He said: “Even private companies that own satellites don’t have only one. Some of them have five to six satellites, but mostly communication satellites which spin money. The return on investment is very fast but what happens in most advanced satellite countries is that these things are given out to the private sector to manage; they are not under government management and you can see the results.”

But a NIGCOMSAT official, Abdulraheem Isah Adajah, disagreed. Adajah who is the NIGCOMSAT’s General Manager, Satellite Applications, told Daily Trust that it was not entirely true that Nigcomsat1-R was recording low patronage due to lack of backup. According to him, inferiority complex and the mentality that ‘if it is Nigerian it can’t be good’ is the main reason. He called on the Federal Executive Council to come up with a policy which would make it compulsory for government agencies to patronise Nigeria’s satellites. [emphasis mine]

Typical thinking from government types. One government official lobbies for the government to build more satellites, while the other says the law should require their use. Neither seems very interested in discussing the actual lack of market demand that might be making these satellites unprofitable.

The article quotes a number of other government officials, most of whom remind me of the two above. Only one hints at the major source of the problem (the government), by noting that bickering between different Nigerian government agencies has been a factor. For example, the government agency that provides satellite television to Nigeria no longer buys time on these satellites, claiming that they have no backup should something go wrong.

It is a good thing that Nigeria is doing this. The problem is that it is their government doing it, instead of a private industry looking for profit.


Iran to put man in space in 8 years?

According to one Iranian aviation official, Iran plans to put a man into space within the next 8 years.

[H]ead of the Aviation Research Centre at Iran’s Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, Fat’hollah Ami, says Iran’s space programme is going on smoothly and efforts are underway to send a manned spaceship into space within the next eight years.

He said the Aviation Research Centre is now focused on its main goal to send man into the space by the next eight years. “We have had serious negotiations with Russian space centres and they are expected to give us their final reply,” he said.

The key fact revealed here is Russia. Iran isn’t going to do the flying. It is trying to purchase a seat in a Soyuz capsule from the Russians. Whether Russia will sell it to them depends on many factors, including Iran’s status in world politics and how cash desperate the Russians are.


Trump Justice Department will not prosecute Lois Lerner

Surprise, surprise! The Trump administration has decided that it will not consider prosecuting Lois Lerner for her harassment of conservative organizations when she worked for the IRS.

More and more, I think that this prediction of a Trump presidency, made in February 2016, will accurately portray most of the policies he achieves. This quote is especially clairvoyant:

The Senate and House remained strongly Republican, but they seemed to learn nothing. The promised repeal and replacement of Obamacare slipped from a Day One priority to a Day 90 priority to a “Somewhere down the road” priority. Trump also half-heartedly tried to build a wall, but then gave up, explaining, “Well, Mexico refuses to pay for it and we shouldn’t have to.” It was not long before Trump began to “grow in office,” and soon he was explaining how, “We really need these people here, these illegal people to do the dirty jobs Americans just won’t do. We need them and it would kill our economy if we stopped it.” He soon signed a comprehensive immigration law legalizing the millions of illegals already here and expanding legal immigration; there were no firm border security provisions in the bill. When confronted by a Fox News reporter at a news conference about this flip-flop, Trump responded, “That’s a very, very rude and stupid question coming from you. The voters, they understand you have to compromise and make deals and we’ve made a very strong deal. You are probably saying this because it is that time of the month and you women say crazy things then.”

He decided not to repudiate the Iran deal, claiming, “It seems to have been going very well.” The Iranians detonated a nuclear warhead in December 2017. Vladimir Putin sent his armored divisions into unoccupied Ukraine and reintegrated the country into Russia. President Trump called it, “Very disturbing, very scary, but it’s their internal business. It’s not our business, so we are staying out of it.” Trump’s 45% tariff on Chinese goods died in the House of Representatives, but only after Republicans beat back a coalition of Democrats and a few Trump-leaning Republicans.

Trump allied himself with Democrats frequently in a series of “deals” that sometimes passed, sometimes failed. For their part, the Democrats held their fire on President Trump and focused on the GOP Congress. But in the run-up to the 2018 mid-terms, the Democrats leveraged the fact that the economy was not improving and foreign policy fiascos like ISIS’ taking of all of Syria and expanding the caliphate. They turned on Donald Trump with a vengeance and re-took the Senate as well as many House seats.

While Trump does appear to be trying to rein in the out-of-control environmental movement with the federal government, and appears to be appointing good judges, when it comes to the swamp of Washington, do not expect him to drain any of it.


Prosecutors focus on laptop contents in Democrat IT scandal

Prosecutors have provided a copy of the contents of a laptop belonging to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (that had been apparently purposely abandoned by former Democratic IT specialist Imran Awan), suggesting that they intend to use the contents as important evidence in their bank fraud case against Awan.

Imran entered a House office building the night of April 6, two months after he was banned by House authorities from touching its network, and placed the laptop, a copy of his ID, and letters to the US Attorney in a phone booth, according to a police report. There would be little reason to enter the phone booth, and it would be difficult to forget items there.

Imran also left in the phone booth a notebook that said “attorney client privilege,” which could be a reason why prosecutors gave Imran’s lawyer a copy of what could be Wasserman Schultz’s laptop. Prosecutors said they were giving him a copy under the legal process of discovery, in which defendants have a right to evidence being used against them.

…Immediately after prosecutors gave Imran a copy of the laptop, Imran’s wife, Hina Alvi, told prosecutors she would agree to return from Pakistan to face charges, seemingly indicating she has confidence that she won’t face serious punishment for theft or cyberviolations, despite authorities being in possession of massive quantities of invoices that were systematically altered to prevent the equipment from appearing in House inventories.

Overall, it appears, though I am being very optimistic here, that the prosecutors might be making a deal with the Awans in order to gather evidence on bigger fish.

Read the whole article at the link. It provides a good summary of the scandal, and shows why Wasserman Schultz and many Democrats in Congress might be very threatened by it.


Senate committee approves funding for UN global warming bureaucracy

Our beloved Democratic-controlled Senate: A Senate committee today rejected Trump’s proposal to cut all UN spending for its global warming bureaucracy, including the IPCC, and re-installed the $10 million budget item.

It is important to note how the vote went:

The amendment passed 16-14. Republican Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee voted in favor, as did all committee Democrats except for West Virginia’s Joe Manchin.

Essentially, the Senate is now controlled by the Democrats, with the help of a handful of fake Republicans. I should add that the Republican leadership is partly allowing this, by not imposing any party discipline on any of its members.


Illegal votes may have decided 2016 New Hampshire results

New data strongly suggests that illegal voters could have tipped the New Hampshire 2016 election in favor of the Democrats.

Over 6,000 voters in New Hampshire had used same-day voter registration procedures to register and vote simultaneously for president. The current New Hampshire Speaker of the House, Shawn Jasper, sought and obtained data about what happened to these 6,000 “new” New Hampshire voters who showed up on Election Day.

It seems the overwhelming majority of them can no longer be found in New Hampshire. Of those 6,000, only 1,014 have ever obtained New Hampshire driver’s licenses. Of the 5,526 voters who never obtained a New Hampshire driver’s license, a mere three percent have registered a vehicle in New Hampshire. The Public Interest Legal Foundation received information that 70 percent of the same-day registrants used out-of-state photo ID to vote in the 2016 presidential election in New Hampshire and to utilize same-day registration.

Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, also defeated incumbent U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte by only 1,017 votes.

The one bright sign here is that it appears that New Hampshire officials appear willing to address these issues, and make changes.


“Witches, Jews And Climate Deniers”

Link here. This is the introduction:

Throughout history, hate groups have looked for scapegoats to blame things on.

In the 16th century progressive hate groups blamed bad weather on witches, and burned tens of thousands of witches at the stake. In the 1930’s and 1940’s progressives put millions of Jews in gas chambers as scapegoats for Germany’s problems, and now progressive hate groups blame the weather on people who resist their climate scam. They want to criminalize and prosecute free speech and scientific inquiry.

It goes on from there, documenting the anger and hate and certainty of the pro-global warming crowd, and their increasing intolerance for any dissent, or any facts that counter their positions or certainty. Read it all. It is worth it.


GAO report finds Navy training in Pacific inadequate

A General Accountability Office report has found that more than a third of the Navy’s ships based in Japan do not have properly trained crews.

There are 70 to 80 ships and submarines in the 7th Fleet, which is on the front line of sea-based missile defense against North Korea. The GAO testimony focused on the destroyers and cruisers, the two kinds of ships involved in the four collisions this year. The Navy’s ships require more than a dozen training certifications, including mobility and seamanship and warfare capabilities like ballistic missile defense and surface warfare.

The cause of the McCain collision is still under investigation, but military leaders, lawmakers and the GAO have long warned about the Navy’s readiness crunch as the size of the fleet has increased and the number of ships deployed has remained constant, while the length of deployments has increased. “The Navy has had to shorten, eliminate, or defer training and maintenance periods to support these high deployment rates,” John Pendleton, director of the GAO defense capabilities and management, said in the written testimony.

But the GAO has also issued specific warnings about ships based abroad, and specifically Japan. In a May 2015 report, the GAO said that the Navy’s schedules for overseas ships limited dedicated training and maintenance time — and found that incidents of degraded or out-of-service equipment nearly doubled from 2009 to 2014.

There’s more, but essentially the Navy has been sending these ships out without properly trained crews.


Russia and China both condemn North Korea’s nuclear test

Has the veil finally lifted from their eyes? The leaders of both Russia and China on Sunday agreed to work together to deal with the threat of a North Korea with nuclear weapons and ICBMs, with China strongly condemning North Korea.

It appears that these nations have suddenly realized that a North Korea with nuclear weapons and missiles capable of delivering those weapons anywhere on the globe is not merely a threat to the U.S., it also poses a threat to them. It is a shame that it took so long for this basic and obvious fact to sink in.


Senate/House budget conflicts over science and space

Link here. The article gives a good overview, from a pro-science, pro-big spending perspective, of some of the significant budget differences between the proposed House and Senate budgets for 2018.

Except for NASA’s planetary program, the House generally wants to cut more than the Senate. This once again reflects the overall political trends. Because House membership changes more frequently (its members must face the voters every two years), the positions of its membership tend to reflect more closely the wishes of the voters. The Senate meanwhile (with only one-third of its membership facing re-election every two years and with six year terms for all senators) has historically trailed behind, defending past positions that are no longer popular with the voters.

If you want to predict the political future, look at what the House proposes. The budget proposals here reflect the increasing desire of the voters to trim back the federal government. Congress (and the establishment Republican leadership) might not yet realize this, but the trends show it. Soon (I hope after 2018), the resistance by that leadership and within the Senate will break, and we shall finally see some major budget cutting.


Action in House to limit use of civil forfeiture by Sessions

Several congressmen have submitted amendments to the appropriations bill that funds the Justice Department that would nullify the effort by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to increase the use of civil forfeiture.

[F]our amendments have been submitted to the House Rules Committee for consideration that would defund Sessions’ directive. It’s not clear which amendment if any will be considered when the consolidated appropriations bill, H.R. 3354, reaches the House floor likely late next week.

Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) have submitted separate amendments that would prohibit the Department of Justice from using funds for adoptive seizures. Two bipartisan amendments, one submitted by Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and another by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), would prevent funding from being used to implement Sessions’ directive.

The Amash and Davidson amendments are more comprehensive and are not limited to Sessions’ directive. In fact, these amendments would leave the minor safeguards provided under Sessions’ changes in place. The bipartisan amendments aren’t as comprehensive, although they’re still better than the status quo. [emphasis mine]

As is typical of this Republican Congress, there appears to be no strong support by the party’s leadership for these amendments, as indicated by the highlighted words. This lack of support is further indicated by this quote:

Legislation has been introduced to increase the standard at the federal level to clear and convincing evidence and provide more protections for property owners who contest a seizure in federal court. Unfortunately, these bills — Rep. Walberg and Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act and Rep. Sensenbrenner’s DUE PROCESS Act — are awaiting action in their respective committees, and there’s no guarantee of action. [emphasis mine]

What I find encouraging is that the weak Republican leadership is increasingly under pressure from its rank and file to move rightward. They might not want to, or they might be afraid to (being political cowards), but the trend continues in the right direction. And I believe that this conservative trend will accelerate, after there are more Republican victories in the 2018 elections.


Trump nominates James Bridenstine as NASA administrator

As expected for months, Trump late yesterday nominated Congressman James Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma) as the new administrator of NASA.

He will still have to be confirmed by the Senate. Interestingly, both Florida senators, a Democrat and a Republican, have announced their opposition to the nomination.

Bridenstine is somewhat in favor of private space, but previous analysis of his past proposals by myself and others has not been encouraging. What he will do as head of NASA however remains unknown. Based on his past statements, I would be surprised if he cut back on either commercial space or SLS.


India’s PSLV rocket fails to release satellite

India’s PSLV rocket failed to put a navigation satellite into orbit yesterday when the payload fairing did not separate.

The PSLV has had an excellent launch record, so this failure is unfortunate and a surprise. Whether it will effect that rocket’s next launch, putting two Google Lunar X-prize contestants into space, remains unknown.

We are about to leave Torry and head home. Further posts will be on the road, assuming I can get service.


Angola establishes its first space strategy

The new colonial movement: Angola has enacted its first space strategy, aimed at encouraging a new space industry in that nation.

The document is mostly government bureaucratic blather. More important, it seems mostly centered on what Angola’s governmental space agencies will do in the future. The policy makes nice about encouraging the private sector, but offers little to actually accomplish this.

Nonetheless, this action once again shows that more and more countries across the globe want in on the exploration of the solar system. The international competition is going to be fierce.


Russia and China to team up to explore Moon?

Russia and China appear ready to sign a cooperative agreement involving the joint exploration of the Moon from 2018 to 2022.

The deal is expected to be signed this October and will bring significant benefits to both nations, particularly in manned and future missions to the moon….

The bilateral agreement will cover five areas including lunar and deep space exploration, developing special materials, collaboration in the area of satellite systems, Earth remote sensing, and space debris research.

No details yet. Moreover, the deal itself has not yet been signed, so this might all vanish into the ether. It does appear however that Russia’s financial problems are forcing it to partner with others, and China presently has a very sophisticated but inexperienced space program and lots of cash. Russia’s experience would be a great help to China, until they don’t need it anymore. Thus, the logic of the agreement.

Posted from the lobby of the Swiftcurrent hotel at the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park. Diane completed a 10 mile hike today early, so we have the afternoon to relax. Tomorrow we make the long drive south to Capital Reef.


North Korea launches another missile

North Korea has launched another ballistic missile.

Not much information yet about its range or capability.

Update (now that I am off the mountain and back in the lobby, able to post): It appears North Korea successfully launched three short range ballistic missiles on Saturday.

Initial reports had suggested that all were failures. Now it appears that all were successful, flying about 150 miles.


Democratic staffer signed off on computer theft by foreign IT workers

New evidence in the scandal surrounding the computer staff used by Democratic congressmen shows that the chief of staff for Yvette Clark (D-New York) apparently okayed the loss of $120,000 worth of missing computer equipment, thus hiding the loss from investigators.

Clarke’s chief of staff at the time effectively dismissed the loss and prevented it from coming up in future audits by signing a form removing the missing equipment from a House-wide tracking system after one of the Awan brothers alerted the office the equipment was gone. The Pakistani-born brothers are now at the center of an FBI investigation over their IT work with dozens of Congressional offices.

A senior House official with knowledge of the situation provided TheDCNF with new details about how exactly the brothers are suspected to have stolen the equipment and possibly data from Congress, raising questions about the members or staffers who were signing the checks on equipment purchases.

The $120,000 figure amounts to about a tenth of the office’s annual budget, or enough to hire four legislative assistants to handle the concerns of constituents in her New York district. Yet when one of the brothers alerted the office to the massive loss, the chief of staff signed a form that quietly reconciled the missing equipment in the office budget, the official told TheDCNF. Abid Awan remained employed by the office for months after the loss of the equipment was flagged.

It is not clear who actually did this, as there was a change in staffing at the time. Either way, it once again appears as if the Awan family had some dirt on the Democrats, and was using it to compel their cooperation in a variety of illegal acts.


Trump administration to end climate panel

The Trump administration has decided to not renew a pro-global warming climate panel set to expire this week.

The panel is part of the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping officials and policy makers integrate the US Government’s climate change analysis into their long-term planning. A mandate for the 15-member Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment is set to expire on Sunday, and will not be renewed.

The press will paint this panel as an objective collection of climate scientists put together to provide the president with good advice on the climate. In truth, it is a part of the propaganda machine for the global warming part of the climate science community, designed to push their conclusions while excluding any skeptical input.

Once again it appears that while Trump might be wishy-washy on many issues, on climate he is serious about dismantling the corruption that has worked its way into that field while eliminating the over-regulation that this corruption has imposed on American society.


Navy destroyer collides with merchant ship

Can’t anyone here play this game? The Navy destroyer USS John S. McCain today collided with a merchant ship east of Singapore.

No word of any casualties as yet. The key quote from the article however is this:

This marked the fourth mishap for U.S. Navy ships in the Pacific since February. Aside from the USS McCain and USS Fitgerald incidents, the Navy crusier USS Antietam ran aground dumping over 1,000 gallons of oil in Tokyo Bay in Februray. In May, another cruiser, USS Lake Champlain, hit a South Korean fishing vessel.

Four incidents like this since February? Something in the Navy is seriously wrong.

Update: 5 injured and 10 missing.


Judge comes down hard on IRS for its harassment of conservatives

Still working for the Democratic Party, with Trump’s approval! A judge has come down hard on the IRS in its stonewalling related to lawsuits and investigations of its harassment of conservative groups during Barack Obama’s administration.

A federal judge on Thursday ordered the IRS to name the specific employees the agency blames for targeting tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny and said the government must prove it has ceased the targeting.

Judge Reggie B. Walton also said the IRS must explain the reasons for the delays for 38 groups that are part of a lawsuit in the District of Columbia, where they are still looking for a full accounting of their treatment. Judge Walton approved another round of limited discovery in the case and laid out six questions that the IRS must answer, including the employees’ names, why the groups were targeted and how the IRS has tried to prevent a repeat.

The IRS has until October 16 to compile. The article notes a more significant aspect of this continuing scandal: Why hasn’t “drain the swamp” Trump done anything to clean house at the IRS? Why has he allowed the IRS to continue its stonewalling? And why hasn’t he fired IRS head John Koskinen, who has clearly obstructed the investigations, lied to Congress, and even worked to have evidence destroyed?


Indicted Democratic IT staffers suspected of selling sensitive info to hostile foreign governments

Update on Democratic IT scandal: Investigators now suspect that the computer staffers, hired by numerous Democratic legislators (most notably former party head Debbie Wasserman Schultz) and already indicted for bank fraud, might have stolen and sold sensitive data to hostile foreign governments.

Investigators now suspect that sensitive US government data — possibly including classified information — could have been compromised and may have been sold to hostile foreign governments that could use it to blackmail members of Congress or even put their lives at risk. “This is a massive, massive scandal,” a senior US official familiar with the widening probe told The Post.

Alarm bells went off in April 2016 when computer security officials in the House reported “irregularities” in computer equipment purchasing. An internal investigation revealed the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars in government property, and evidence pointed to five IT staffers and the Democratic Congress members’ offices that employed them. The evidence was turned over to the House inspector general, who found so much “smoke” that she recommended a criminal probe, sources say. The case was turned over to Capitol Police in October.

When the suspected IT workers couldn’t produce the missing invoiced equipment, sources say, they were removed from working on the computer network in early February.

During the probe, investigators found valuable government data that is believed to have been taken from the network and placed on offsite servers, setting off more alarms. Some 80 offices were potentially compromised.

Wasserman Schultz is especially suspect here. While every other Democratic lawmaker fired these IT staffers months ago, Wasserman Schultz kept them on her payroll (though they had lost security clearance and could do no work for her) and has gone out of her way to hinder the investigations.

Note that this is real scandal, involving actual indictments, the misuse of sensitive government data by foreign nationals of countries not friendly to the United States, and the possibly blackmailing of elected officials. Too bad our insane media today is trapped in a bubble and can no longer see a scoop, even when it is forced down their throats.


Local officials deny pro-Trump group rally permit

Fascist California: Citing safety concerns local officials in the town of Upland, California have denied a permit for a pro-Trump rally.

An ACT for America rally was being planned for Sept. 9 in Upland at the Madonna of the Trail, according to a Facebook post. The location of the rally, which now says “Inland Empire ((somewhere))” was changed Friday after a top Upland official made it clear a permit for the rally would be denied.

It is part of “America First” rallies being held nationwide that day. “This event will be in dedication to all first responders and national security. We appreciate all the hard work our men and woman of service has provided for our protection. As Americans we are giving thanks for protecting our beautiful country,” the Facebook description stated. [emphasis mine]

These officials are essentially endorsing the heckler’s veto, and I bet they are doing it because they agree with the fascist leftwing brownshirts that are attacking conservatives nationwide in order to silence them.

In other words, the first amendment no longer exists in California. Be warned if you go there to protest or speak any conservative ideas. You will either find government officials working to squelch your right to speak, or they will look away (as they did in Berkeley) when thugs move in to beat you up.

Let me add this question: Since when did Americans need permission from government officials to protest?


SpaceX postpones Mars Dragon missions

Based on statements from one NASA official, it appears that SpaceX has put its plans to fly a Dragon capsule to Mars on “the back burner.”

Jim Green, head of NASA’s planetary science division, told Spaceflight Now in an interview that SpaceX has told the agency that it has “put Red Dragon back on the back burner.”

“We’re available to talk to Elon when he’s ready to talk to us … and we’re not pushing him in any way,” Green said. “It’s really up to him. Through the Space Act Agreement, we’d agreed to navigate to Mars, get him to the top of the atmosphere, and then it was up to him to land. That’s a pretty good deal, I think.”

It is my impression that, because NASA has forced SpaceX to give up on propulsive landing of its Dragon manned capsules, the company cannot afford to invest the time and money on it themselves, and thus do not have a method yet for landing a Dragon on Mars. Thus, they must postpone this program.


ULA’s Atlas 5 successfully launches NASA communications satellite

Capitalism in space: ULA this morning successfully launched NASA TDRS-M communications satellite, following a several week delay caused by an accident during satellite preparation that forced the replacement of the satellite’s antenna.

This was ULA’s fifth launch for 2017, which is behind the once-a-month pace they have maintained for the previous five years.


Imran Awan, Wasserman Schultz’s computer geek, indicted

A grand jury today indicted the computer expert who for years ran the computers for numerous congressional Democrats, led by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida).

Awan and other IT aides for House Democrats have been on investigators’ radar for months over concerns of possible double-billing, alleged equipment theft, and access to sensitive computer systems. Most lawmakers fired Awan in February, but Schultz had kept him on until his arrest in July.

The indictment itself, which merely represents formal charges and is not a finding of guilt, addresses separate allegations that Awan and his wife engaged in a conspiracy to obtain home equity lines of credit from the Congressional Federal Credit Union by giving false information about two properties – and then sending the proceeds to individuals in Pakistan.

What I find interesting is that the indictment completely avoids the issues of security and equipment theft that could have been a direct security threat to the country. It is also interesting how the grand jury investigation was aimed at Awan only, and avoided looking into Wasserman Schultz’s part entirely.


Japan’s beginning shift to commercial space

Link here. The article provides a good sense of the state of Japan’s private space industry, which at this moment is generally restricted one company, Interstellar Technologies, and its as yet unsuccessful effort to launch a suborbital rocket. The following quote however helps explain why Japan has been unable to interest anyone in buying its H-2A rocket for commercial launches.

Launch costs associated with Japan’s main H-2A rocket are about ¥10 billion per launch (about $90 million), so miniature satellites often ride together with bigger satellites. A period of 50 days is required between launches, meaning the number of launches is low in Japan compared to countries including the United States, Europe, Russia, China and India. Large satellites are given priority in the launch schedule, so it is often difficult to choose a launch window for miniature satellites. [emphasis mine]

I think the $90 million price is a significant reduction from what JAXA used to charge. Fifty days to prep for launch however is ungodly slow.


Russia to launch twice from Vostochny this year

Russian Deputy Prime Minister announced today that Russia will launch satellites from its new spaceport in Vostochny twice in 2017, first on November 28 and second on December 22.

On July 3, Rogozin said Russia would conduct five launches from the Vostochny space center in 2018. On July 11, Russia’s Roscosmos State Space Corporation head Igor Komarov said the agency was determined to launch up to five carrier rockets for its foreign clients from Vostochny every year starting in 2019.

It appears that the Russian leadership decided to accelerate the launch schedule and move two of those 2018 launches to November and December, 2017. They must be feeling the competitive pressure coming from SpaceX, which has essentially stolen almost their entire share of the commercial launch market.


North Korea appears to back down

A news report today out of North Korea suggests that its leader, Kim Jong Un, has stepped back from a plan to test fire four missiles in the direction of Guam.

This could be related to China’s decision this week, under strong pressure from the Trump administration, to finally go along with UN sanctions and ban imports of iron, lead, and coal from North Korea.

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